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How to negotiate a pay raise - painlessly

December 09, 2009

Negotiating a pay raise can be an intimidating endeavour, especially in today’s tough economy. But making certain that you’re properly compensated for your hard work doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, a carefully planned approach to negotiating a pay raise can earn you a salary hike while ensuring you maintain your composure. Here’s how to ask for – and receive – what you deserve from your employer.

 1. Determine your value

Before you step foot inside your boss’s office, it’s critical that you understand your worth as an employee. Search for compensation surveys, clip employment ads, speak with recruiters, and sift through trade magazines to gain a better understanding of your current market value. Being able to attach a dollar value to your skill sets is a valuable first step in negotiating a raise.

 2. Meet face to face

A carefully crafted letter may strike you as a more comfortable approach to requesting a pay hike but a face-to-face meeting is far more likely to spell success. For this reason, request a formal meeting with your boss to discuss your salary or review a recent performance appraisal.

 3. Watch what you say

During the negotiation process with your employer, maintain your composure and keep tabs on your tone. Practice what you plan on saying to your employer with a friend or family member beforehand. By anticipating possible objections, this role-playing can help you better prepare for your discussion.

 4. Present the evidence

When describing your intrinsic value to the company, don’t expect your boss to simply take your word for it. Instead, arrive prepared with a list of your recent accomplishments. By presenting your employer with statistics relating to revenue you’ve earned, dollars you’ve saved, deadlines you’ve met, and loyal customers you’ve developed relationships with, you’ll stand a far better chance of receiving a pay hike.

Don’t be disheartened if a face-to-face meeting with your employer earns you a pat on the back rather than a well-deserved raise. Nor should you simply call it quits. Instead, request a performance-related bonus or pay increase based on predetermined goals, such as generating more revenue for the company or bringing a certain number of customers on board within a given time frame.

Alternatively, offer to learn new skills or assume added responsibilities – steps that could put you in line for a salary increase in the near future.